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Repair, restore, reuse… May 18, 2019

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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I love this stuff, an article that makes the case for how people can repair Apple products when they are seemingly at their end of usable life. I’ve mentioned this before, in relation to a number of devices – I’m still toying with the idea of resurrecting my old iPod Classic as an SSD device, though that I think will have to wait until next year so I can get some funds together for it. But – as I’m sure is true with many of us on here, there’s a real satisfaction in holding onto devices for as long as it is possible to keep them going.

Indeed one thing that struck me recently was, having an iPhone SE because it was cheaper, I like the form factor and I wanted something less-highpowered than more recent models, just how battery life seems to be ignored.

But there is a problem:

According to Nathan Proctor, director of the Campaign for the Right to Repair at the US Public Interest Research Group, this YouTube community is an integral part of a broader political movement that is attempting to wrest consumer agency from an increasingly consolidated electronics marketplace.
Proctor says that while in the past there was a legal balance between protecting manufacturers’ intellectual property and empowering consumers to tinker with, modify, and repair their own products, the rise of software in electronics has shifted power to manufacturers. Not only are the products more complex and harder to fix, the line between self-repair and hacking has become nebulous, meaning that manufacturers have been able to use digital copyright law to gain a legal monopoly over repair. This, in turn, has created a broader cultural anxiety around self-repair, a sense that when our devices malfunction, the problem can only be dealt with by so-called experts at a specific company.

And this strongly resonates with me, the idea that there is…

…a growing coalition of consumer freedom advocates, farmers, hackers, and environmentalists who are pushing for legislation that will allow consumers to fix what they own and empower third-party independent repair shops. In the US, so far 20 states have expressed interest in this type of legislative reform, and Senator Elizabeth Warren in March called for a national right to repair bill, which, while specifically made for farmers wanting to repair their own tractors, would have broad repercussions for all technology manufacturers.

While such legislation would be a victory for consumer rights, more fundamentally, Jones sees the right to repair as an integral step in making people less alienated from the production process. “What we’re giving up when we lose the right to repair is this sense of investigation and wonder and tinkering,” she says. “We’re made to see our devices as if they are these sacrosanct objects but really, they’re just a battery and a screen, something that a stay-at-home mom can learn how to fix in her dining room.”

Having fixed old iPhones and iPods I would say that one key thing to keep in mind is that it is not anywhere near as difficult to do as people think. It is time-consuming and requires concentration and focus, but that’s more or less that. Accept going in that it has to be conducted laboriously, and that it may not go as planned (screens are a pain not to crack, certain cables can be difficult to get to resit in their slots subsequently) but it is for the most part possible. And it is worth the effort.

Comments»

1. Tomboktu - May 18, 2019

Why the Fairphone was developed

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WorldbyStorm - May 18, 2019

Yes, indeed. Though it has some limitations – and the battery life I always found was pretty grim. But the broad underlying philosophy is exactly that.

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2. EWI - May 18, 2019

This, in turn, has created a broader cultural anxiety around self-repair, a sense that when our devices malfunction, the problem can only be dealt with by so-called experts at a specific company.

This has always been the case, and I’m thinking of printer manufacturers and certain luxury car brands here (paying hundreds or thousands to disable the deliberate crippling of hardware?).

I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of surveillance/gatekeeper function built into 3D printers in the near future, after a suitable campaign by corporate media and bought politicians.

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WorldbyStorm - May 18, 2019

Absolutely, assuming it’s not already there.

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WorldbyStorm - May 18, 2019

BTW, was reading during the week how ‘high-end’ car manufacturers trumpet BlueTooth on their cars as a luxury feature when Bluetooth is actually incredibly inexpensive.

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EWI - May 18, 2019

BTW, was reading during the week how ‘high-end’ car manufacturers trumpet BlueTooth on their cars as a luxury feature when Bluetooth is actually incredibly inexpensive

It doesn’t surprise me. It’ll be interesting to see if manufacturers end up on manslaughter charges for deaths relating to deliberately crippling the capabilities of their own software/hardware (this is what happened with the two recent Boeing airliner disasters, and I see someone else was recently killed by his Tesla).

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Lamentreat - May 18, 2019

Given the badly-designed, distracting dashboard interfaces that car manufacturers are coming out with, you’re probably safer without Bluetooth.

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WorldbyStorm - May 19, 2019

That’s a very interesting point you make EWI re manslaughter charges.

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